Wilbert Paulissen of the Joint Investigation Team speaks on the preliminary results of the investigation into the shooting-down of MH17. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

In July 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. Today, in their preliminary findings, officials have confirmed that the plane was hit by a missile fired from a village under the control of pro-Russian rebels.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team said in a press conference that a “Buk” 9M38 missile struck the Boeing 777 and killed all 298 people on board, reports The Guardian:

The head of the Dutch national detective force, Wilbert Paulissen, said, “The missile was shot down by a Buk. This Buk was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation, and after launch was subsequently returned to Russian Federation territory.”


The missile was fired from a field about three miles south of Snizhne, a village that was controlled by pro-Russian fighters at the time. Witnesses confirmed a “loud explosion and a high whistling sound,” along with a smoke trail in the sky.

After the shooting, the surface-to-air missile launcher was moved back to Russia, reports NPR. The Dutch investigators found that:

...phone calls showed pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine requesting that the surface-to-air missile system be delivered and reporting its arrival from Russia, and that witnesses described seeing the Buk missile system in transit to the rebel territories.


Flight MH17 was barely above restricted airspace when it was shot, yet many other flights crossed over that same path without incident that day. Following the crash, there was a lot of debate as to who actually shot the plane down and why, despite large amounts of evidence pointing at a Russian-made “Buk” anti-air missile. Russia is denying claims that it had ties with the missile, and called them “extremely political,” however, reports BBC.

The Russian government has previously offered a number of conspiracy theories as alternatives, including one which appeared to feature a doctored screenshot from a video game.